Christmas in Kansas 2015
Our most recent annual trip back to Kansas for the holidays was super low key. We headed to the airport super early on December 24, and arrived in Kansas City with time to run a few errands in Manhattan before continuing on to the farm. We got our wedding rings cleaned, picked up a few things at the Dusty Bookshelf, grabbed a quick drink at Bluestem and a dozen Varsity donuts for Christmas morning, and took the long way out of town past Snyder Family Stadium.
After a long day of travel, we decided to have our own Julotta at home, instead of staying up until midnight at church. Grandma, Dad, and Ian led us in the traditional singing of "Lyssna" before turning in.
Alas, an evening nestled all snug in our bed was not in the cards. Ian came down with the stomach flu and spent all of Christmas day sick and confined to the bedroom (where he slept, ate crackers, and watched Interstellar on his laptop). Thankfully, it was just a 24-hour bug, and even with 12 people and 1 dog under the same roof, no one else caught it! (Although I still feel bad Ian wasn't able to enjoy Grandma's famous potato sausage.) To celebrate his recovery, the next night we went on a family outing to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It felt so appropriate to watch with my dad, who is responsible for introducing me and my brothers to the originals. It was Brian and Ellen's first Star Wars movie, and I think they're hooked now, too.
Due to a forecasted blizzard, we bumped up our departure by one day, strategically planning our route to completely miss the snow. Dad decided to stay in case Grandma needed help after the storm, while we headed west with my mom, making sure to introduce her to Jiffy Burger on the way (cheese balls!).
We spent the night at my parents' house before heading south to Dodge to spend time with Ian's aunts and Grandma Marilyn. We went to Grandma's favorite haunts (the beauty shop and Hobby Lobby, specifically), and spent lots of quality time hanging out at the hospital for her antibiotic infusions (with Matlock to keep us company).
For our anniversary, we snuck out to Garden City for dinner. Mom and Dad recommended Pho Hoa. New Year's Eve didn't seem to be a popular night for dinner out on the town, but it was fun to have the place basically to ourselves, and the food and service were amazing (not to mention they have an inspiring story)!
A few days later, and we headed back east, stopping once again in Manhattan to say hi to Uncle Jim before completing our circuit in Kansas City. Nathan was kind enough to host us, and we had so much fun hanging out with him, Sara, and Joey (and Chance, Luna, and Winston!). We went to a giant dog park, enjoyed one of their favorite neighborhood barbecue joints, and played lots of board games. (Nathan and Joey have one of the most impressive collections of obscure board games I've ever seen.) Megan was even able to stop by to watch the bowl game (which we'd rather not relive).
The next morning, we headed out early to the airport. A quick flight later, and we were back home in time to catch Super Cluckin' Sunday. Christmas miracle!